Deporting immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children will not be a top federal law enforcement priority even if lawmakers do not pass a program to protect them, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief said in an interview aired on Tuesday.
Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking ahead of a congressional hearing, told CBS News which as long as so-called Dreamers have registered with federal authorities they will not be a top target even after U.S. President Donald Trump moved to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“the item’s not going to be a priority of the Immigration along with also Customs Enforcement,” she said. “If you are a DACA which’s compliant with your registration—meaning you haven’t committed a crime along with also you in fact are registered—you are not a priority of enforcement for ICE should the program end.”
Although federal officials have said they will not target Dreamers, Trump has significantly expanded the categories of people who can be prioritized for deportation along with also immigrant advocates say DACA recipients who lose their status are at risk.
Nielsen’s comments come as Trump along with also lawmakers battle over an immigration deal which has blown up amid Trump’s controversial remarks at a recent White House meeting. The talks also overshadow larger spending negotiations ahead of a possible federal government shutdown This particular week.
Nielsen will be set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. to discuss oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.